Gynecomastia is a condition that causes a man to develop an enlarged breast gland, or, in the case of pseudogynecomastia, they will develop the appearance of having enlarged breast glands because they have excess fat deposits in that area of their chest.
Boys who are entering puberty sometimes experience this, but in that case it is typically a temporary issue that resolves itself as they grow older.
Men who develop the condition will also often find that it resolves itself after six months or so, but if it is persistent then there are some treatment options available.
If a man develops gynecomastia because they have low testosterone, then they might be able to resolve the issue by going on testosterone replacement therapy. This is not an effective option for a man that has normal levels of testosterone already.
Clomiphene is sometimes used to treat the condition, although the FDA did not approve the drug for this purpose. Another option is tamoxifen.
This is a selective estrogen receptor modulator, and it has been found to help reduce the size of ‘breast’ that appears, but it does not completely eliminate the problem, so it is typically used only in cases where someone has very severe gynecomastia, or where the condition is painful.
Another option that is sometimes used is Danazol – this works by reducing the amount of estrogen that the testes produce. This is not a commonly used treatment, however.
It is best to seek treatment early on, as medications are more effective when used early. If someone has gynecomastia for twelve months or more, then the tissue may become scarred, and that makes it harder to remove with medication.
Surgery is an option, but doctors will not normally suggest this unless the case is severe or the condition is causing significant embarrassment and psychological harm.
Hormonal fluctuations can be a normal side of aging, and there are several other causes of gynecomastia that are signs of an underlying health condition.
It is important that someone who develops the condition seeks medical advice as quickly as possible to rule out any serious conditions, and to give themselves the best chance of treating it.
Typically, doctors will monitor the condition for the first six months, then suggest treatment based on how the breast tissue is developing or shrinking. They will want to pick something with the least side effects.